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Why Archer Aviation Skyrocketed 228% in 2023

Motley Fool - Mon Jan 15, 5:15AM CST

To the delight of shareholders, ArcherAviation(NYSE: ACHR) found itself on a new trajectory in 2023, heading much higher after it lost a significant amount of altitude in 2022. In addition to receiving favorable attention from analysts, the electric air taxi company announced several encouraging deals last year to charge up investors' excitement.

According to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, Archer Aviation stock rose 228% in 2023.

Archer rose higher last spring and continued to soar over the subsequent months

Trading mostly flat for the first five months of 2023, shares of Archer started to take off in June when analysts revealed auspicious outlooks on the stock. On June 9, Austin Moeller, an analyst at Canaccord, assigned a buy rating and set a $9 price target on Archer stock. At that time, Moeller's price target implied upside of 179%.

Days later, DeutscheBank waxed even more bullish with a $12 price target. According to The Fly, Deutsche Bank predicated this on the belief that Archer is making "rapid, under appreciated" progress toward advancing its aircraft.

Archer also received a boost from Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) in late June. The Netherlands-based automaker reported in a regulatory filing that it raised its ownership stake to 10.6%, representing more than 20.2 million shares. But that wasn't all. Stellantis further increased its stake in Archer several months later, picking up 12.3 million more shares and growing its ownership stake to 15.1% in October.

But it's not only Stellantis that emerged as a prominent shareholder last year. Cathie Wood also gained notoriety as an Archer advocate. Throughout 2023, Ark Invest funds made multiple acquisitions of Archer stock, and now throughout its various ETFs Ark Invest owns nearly 24 million shares of Archer stock. Growth investors often track Ark Invest's moves closely, so it's unsurprising that those on Main Street followed Wood's support of Archer.

Archer's announcements of several partnerships also contributed to the buying frenzy last year. UnitedAirlines announced a plan to offer electric air taxi service to customers in Chicago, building on the relationship between the two companies. United has already agreed to buy 300 of the company's Midnight aircraft. It's not only the private sector that has expressed interest in the company. In July, Archer reported that it has inked agreements totaling $142 million with the Department of Defense.

Can investors hit the mark with Archer in 2024?

Archer Aviation has high hopes of revolutionizing transportation with its electric vertical take off and landing aircraft. For growth investors committed to disruptive companies, Archer is one that certainly has the potential to hit the mark. The stock's meteoric rise in 2023 should certainly not deter investors from picking it for themselves, as long as they are comfortable with the risks -- it hasn't commenced commercial operations yet, and it's in the pre-revenue phase of its development.

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Scott Levine has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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